Stanford seaside volleyball’s historic NCAA run ends in quarterfinals

Regardless of solely claiming third place within the Pac-12 Match, No. 9 Stanford (29-13, 3-4 Pac 12) was granted a spot within the NCAA Match for the third consecutive 12 months. The Cardinal impressed of their first match with a 3-2 win in opposition to No. 6 Grand Canyon College (26-8, 0-0 CCSA), however their run was lower quick after falling to No. 2 TCU (37-3, 5-0 CCSA) in Gulf Shores, Ala. 

Stanford had confidence heading into the primary spherical of the event, particularly contemplating that it was set to play GCU, whom the Cardinal had overwhelmed 4-1 within the common season. Juniors Emmy Sharp and Kate Reilly set the tone early, successful their duel 21-17, 21-17. Nonetheless, this momentum didn’t final as Pac-12 first workforce members junior Xolani Hodel and senior Maddi Kritz narrowly misplaced 22-20, 22-20 to a robust GCU pair. Junior Maya Harvey and fifth-year Charlie Ekstrom additionally felt the warmth in Alabama, dropping a backwards and forwards contest 13-21, 21-12, 15-9. 

No matter these losses, the Cardinal confirmed their resilience and willpower as the brand new pairing of sophomore Taylor Wilson and freshman Daria Gusarova clinched a three-set victory to attract the groups even. All consideration turned to court docket 4 as the outstanding freshman duo of Kelly Belardi and Ashley Vincent battled to safe Stanford’s first-ever win at an NCAA event. With the remainder of the workforce watching eagerly from the sidelines, Belardi and Vincent pulled off an impressive victory, catapulting the Cardinal into the NCAA quarterfinals. Not solely did this mark a milestone in this system’s historical past, but it surely additionally marked this pairing’s twenty eighth victory this 12 months, cementing its place within the report books for probably the most wins in a single season at school historical past.

On Saturday, Stanford confronted off in opposition to TCU within the quarterfinals. Regardless of their greatest efforts, the Cardinal have been unable to safe a win, dropping all three matches to the Horned Frogs. Sharp and Reilly, although profitable on day one, have been defeated in two units. Hodel and Kriz confronted off in one other shut sport, dropping 21-18, 21-17 this time. Wilson and Gusarova, paired for simply the third time this season, put up a robust battle in opposition to TCU, stretching the match to 3 after dominating set two. The scores got here out to 14–21, 21-12 and 15-12. The remaining pairings, Harvey/Ekstrom and Belardi/Vincent, didn’t end their video games as a result of their teammates ending earlier than them.

Whereas this marks the top of the season for Stanford, it would go down in program historical past for breaking information. The Cardinal went 29-12 on the season, good for the most effective report in workforce historical past. Vincent received 31 occasions this 12 months, setting the report for probably the most wins by a person inside the season. Ekstrom completed her time as a Stanford athlete this weekend, having received a powerful 82 video games as a Cardinal. Total, it was an outstanding season for Stanford Seaside Volleyball.